2010 Archives

Stanton Sharp Lecture: 'Woodrow Wilson in Peace and War'

Wilson’s presidency was one of triumph and tragedy compressed into eight dramatic years

John Milton Cooper Jr.
John Milton Cooper Jr.

April 13, 2010

John Milton Cooper Jr., Woodrow Wilson scholar and acclaimed author of Woodrow Wilson: A Biography, will discuss the 28th president and his legacy during a Stanton Sharp Lecture titled “Woodrow Wilson in Peace and War” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, in Dallas Hall's McCord Auditorium (Room 306). 

The Stanton Sharp Lectures are sponsored by SMU's William P. Clements Department of History. They are free and open to the public and SMU students, faculty and staff.  Seating is not reserved.

Cooper is the E. Gordon Fox Professor Emeritus of American Institutions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He is the author of several books on the American presidency, also including Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations and Reconsidering Woodrow Wilson: Progressivism, Internationalism, War, and Peace.

Just after he was elected president in November 1912, Woodrow Wilson remarked to a friend on the Princeton University faculty, “It would be an irony of fate if my administration had to deal chiefly with foreign problems; for all my preparation has been in domestic matters.”  That comment proved prophetic and neatly encapsulated Wilson’s presidency.  Clearly, “foreign problems”—in the form of World War I, American intervention, and his efforts to create a new structure of peace—did come to dominate his time in the White House, especially his second term. 

Likewise, Wilson's “preparation”— by which he meant more his academic studies than his late blooming plunge into politics —served him well in domestic affairs, as he racked up a record of legislative achievements to rival those of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson.  In all, Wilson’s presidency was one of triumph and tragedy compressed into eight dramatic years that shaped the rest of the 20th century.

The Stanton Sharp Lectures are supported by a generous gift from Ruth Sharp Altshuler honoring her son, Stanton Sharp.  Inaugurated in 1991, the Sharp Lectures bring to the SMU campus some of the nation’s most distinguished scholars for lectures, discussions, and interactions with students, faculty, and members of the community.  The lectures are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Mildred Pinkston at 214-768-2967 or mpinksto@smu.edu, or visit the History Department website at http://smu.edu/history 

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